I Believe Everything Happens For A Stupid, Unfair Reason That's Stupid
I don’t put dates on my blog posts because I want most of what I write about to be somewhat “evergreen” so they could be applicable regardless of when a person might be reading it. This one is different. It is April of 2018 and I’m pissed. I’m scared. I’m hopeful. I’m faithful … but mostly pissed.
Originally I planned to title this post F**K CANCER, but I thought it might cross a line for some people – although I’m not sure I care right now. I’ve written about the battles my wife and I have fought over the last 12 years, and I’ve shouted those two words often during that period.
I actually stole the title of this post from a card we received from my mother today. It was exactly what my family needed to read. Someone at Hallmark was smart enough to know that from time to time cards with flowery meadows, sunbeams, clichés and puppies don’t cut it. I love all those things, but right now they would have just chapped my ass. After almost 12 years clear, my wife has had a recurrence of her cancer. This brings the grand total to FOUR times that we will be fighting this between the two of us.
There may be some cathartic writing going on here, but I refuse for this post to be solely about cancer. I heard someone use the phrase “keep on keeping on” the other day and it definitely applies for my family in this situation – and frankly, it can serve most of us in our lives. I remember my dad saying it when I was younger and I’ve used it throughout my life. Curtis Mayfield wrote a song by the same title in the early 1970s, and I found some references to the phrase as early as the 1910s. Most people seem to use it when they talk about being persistent toward a goal or a destination. We are using it now as we fight toward our goal of healing – body, mind and spirit.
We will not spend any time in “why us?” mode. It is a waste of mental and physical energy. Plus, if we really think about it, we could just as easily say “why not us?” Sure, it seems unlikely that two relatively young, healthy people – with no history of cancer in their families - would get hit like this, but everything is relative. Bad things happen all the time with no seeming explanation. None of us are immune to hardships or tragedies in life. We believe that perspective is an important part of life in general – and certainly when dealing with struggles, demons, baggage, etc.
Every time we walk into an oncology office, we see so many people worse off than us. We have many dear friends who've lost loved ones to this awful disease and we are thankful to be here still fighting. If that sounds a little cheesy to you I understand. I admit I don’t always think and operate with that kind of perspective, but it’s crucial when you’re going through the fire … so I work hard at it.
I don’t breathe quite right as I watch my wife and our family go through the process of dealing with this latest news. It’s gut-wrenching stuff, but as we’ve trudged through all the consultations, tests, and scans - there is finally a plan.
So now we fight. And we will not do it alone. We will lean hard on our family, friends and faith. They will pick us up when we fall. They will be there when we need them. They are our “angels with skin” and we thank God for them.
What are you dealing with right now? Health problems, financial troubles, failing relationships, addictions, mental health issues? How are you dealing with them? Are you trying to do it alone? Motivational podcasts, speakers, and self-help books can only get you so far. We need community. We need a spiritual life that feeds our souls. Those things help make us whole. They make us stronger and able to weather the storms of life.
A friend of ours just sent us a beautiful picture of a lion with the shadow of a cross over his face. The caption read: “The devil whispers, ‘you cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior replies, ‘I AM the storm!” Now THAT’s good stuff!
Whatever your storm may be, don’t be afraid to ask for help. At some point in every person’s life, the realization comes that complete self-sufficiency is the mirage in the desert. It’s a myth we believe until it becomes painfully clear we aren’t really in control. We do need help – from a sovereign God - and each other.
Personally, I may be ready for flowery meadows, sunbeams, clichés and puppies later, but not right now.
Now we fight.
We are warriors. We ARE the storm!
Keep on keeping on.